We had some friends over on Saturday, and one of our buddies with his fantsy camera too a few shots of the creatures that we have daftly decided to share our home with.
|Helo has a conversation with our friend’s girlfriend|
|Which dog shall claim Jen as his own?|
|Perry the cat|
|Boris is such a sweet boy|
And a couple more photos that I took on my cell phone over the last few weeks. Helo is always very careful not to disturb Perry. He even lets the cat drink out the water before he goes for it.
|Perry runs the show.|
|This is Boris’ favorite toy, his crusty stuffed doggy from ikea.|
So… we’ve been doing this clean eating thing for a few months now, and let me tell you… it’s time consuming. It’s also pretty hellish if you do not make a plan as there’s not really any convenience food sitting around the house. We’ve redoubled our efforts in meal planning, and I figured I’d share a few photos that I snapped over the last few days.
Friday, I tried a recipe for zucchini tots that I found on pinterest. I love zucchini fritters/patties, and these are basically the same recipe I use for those, except baked in a mini-muffin tin. I have a somewhat recent obsession with “mini food” after watching Mermaids for the first time in a couple decades, and these just looked so fun and so festive. Unfortunately, the most important part of the recipe seems to have been left out. And that part is to USE A NONSTICK MINI MUFFIN TIN. It turns out that no matter how much olive oil you spray your tin with, your “tots” will stick if you tin is a standard aluminum variety.
I had a little extra zucchini mixture when I had finished filling my muffin tin, so I decided to pan fry it and snack while we prepped the other parts of our dinner. The standard patties were fabulous. I did not take finished photos of the “tots” that I had to rip to shreds and generally mangle to get out of the tin, which I then had to soak overnight and scrub the crap out of to get the stuck-on zucchini and egg bits out of the tiny little holes. Fuck zucchini tots.
I did my big grocery trip for the week and set about prepping for the week’s meals and snacks, as well as prepping components for the dogs’ meals, as we’ll be out of town this weekend and my mother in law will be feeding and hanging out with them, so simplicity is key.
I spent last night cutting up 3lbs strawberries; ripping up a bunch of kale; roasting sweet potatoes, cubed beets, and cubed butternut squash; steaming broccoli, cutting up ham, grating cheese, and whisking eggs for the mini crustless quiches I made(in a nonstick muffin tin); washing and drying fruits and vegetables before putting them away; sauteing beet greens and kale for doggy dinners; and peeling oranges and bananas, then portioning things out into baggies for preportioned smoothie packs for the freezer.
So we got a chunk of money when we got married, as we had requested cash to renovate the kitchen as wedding gifts instead of stuff we already had (we’re classy like that). Anyway, we spent the money replacing the leatherette textured laminate counters with granite, and the builder-grade stainless sink with something magical. I know that you often find people discussing how much they like XYZ as they are installing something or right after doing so. I figured I’d let you know how I feel about everything in my sink area after having spent 2+ years heavily using it.
First… The sink… I think it’s FABULOUS. We wanted to do an undermount sink with the granite counter. I don’t like stainless because it always looks dirty, and it scratches/dents easily, plus we don’t have stainless anywhere else in the kitchen, plus… it’s LOUD! I don’t like enamel coated cast iron as it scratches and chips easily, and I am exceptionally clumsy. It would only be a matter of time before I had a chipped up sink that was scratched to hell and difficult/expensive to remove and replace. We ended up going with a material that Blanco calls Silgranit, which is basically a stone and acrylic composite. It is heat and scratch resistant. I believe that the color we chose was biscuit, because I didn’t want to get white and have it look skanky dirty all the time. It was a great choice, IMO, though I don’t know anyone else with this particular sink material, so I can’t make any assertions regarding whether it’s the best color. We got a super deep single bowl offset drain sink. It’s huge. Really huge. It easily fits a half-sized sheet pan, or 2 huge frying pans sitting flat. It’s massive. When the sink is full of dirty dishes, the dishes will more than fill the dishwasher, which is pretty inconvenient. But that’s more a testament to my shitty housekeeping skills than it is to the quality of the sink.
In the last several months, the sink has developed a couple small nicks or scratches around the drain area. They collect dirty stuff and look ugly. The benefit of the silgranit is that it can easily be sanded down and the scratches will no longer be visible. They don’t bother me enough for me to bother getting out the wet sandpaper and actually sand anything, so I haven’t bothered. The only other “thing” that I’ve noticed with it is if I’m scrubbing something metal (cast iron pan, aluminum sheet pans, etc), they will leave little metaly smeary marks being on the sink, as it has just the slightest texture. They also come off super easily with a little light scrubbing with the back side of a sponge or a nylon bristled dish brush. I imagine that with a darker color they’d be far less evident, however soap scum would be more evident, so ya win some, ya lose some.
Ok, the faucet…. I have mixed feelings about this faucet. We basically just picked a faucet from Lowes (we had a gift card) that was oil rubbed bronze, this approximate shape, and only made one hole (I didn’t want more). This one is fine. It’s not great, but it works fine. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone just because I’m not sure it’s any better than the average, but it does the trick. Here are my opinions on it. It does one neat thing. You can have it on the “spray” setting, and turn it off. When you turn the faucet back on, the spray setting has reset back to the standard stream. That keeps you from accidentally getting massive splashback and soaking yourself. That’s a win.
Now here are the things that I DON’T like about it. It has a button next to the spray/normal button that allows it to go into a pot fill type mode where it flows more water than normal, but this button has to remain depressed manually. It will spring back to a normal fill mode if you let go. The faucet is capable of flowing more water but by design purposefully keeps you from doing so the majority of the time. Not only that, but it has the ability to auto-off the spray mode, why not auto-off the turbo mode and not have to hold that motherfucker down? WTF Moen? The faucet thingy regularly falls out and hangs down. I’m not sure if this is related to the amount of counterweight on the stainless hose or another bad design feature. Either way, it’s a commonly noted problem with this faucet, and annoying as fuck. The majority of the time, it looks like this as it will come undone any time you use it. I initially pushed it back in every time. I don’t anymore. When I come up with things to stop spending money on (LOL) I will start looking into other faucets. As it is, I can live with it, but would prefer something that had more thoughtful design(and looked a little more consistent with the rest of our fixtures in style).
The drain…. It’s a pile of shit. It drains slowly (the drain in the other sink drained at approximately double the speed of this one) and scratches easily. It used to look ORB when we bought it. As it has scratched (the whole top surface is now copper colored), you can now see that it’s made of 2 different types of metal as well, copper and brass. Luckily it was only like $20. This will get switched out when we get a new faucet (probably right before we sell the house).
The soap dispenser. We have a simple human soap dispenser. Craig wanted it for his birthday (reason #864 you’re getting old) so his parents bought it for him. I was vehemently opposed to a stupid looking automatic soap dispenser. I had a squeeze bottle that I kept my dishsoap in and didn’t need anything else. But then we got it…. and it was pretty neat. It dispenses onto a scrubby brush or a sponge, so I really had little use for a squeeze bottle. I grew to love it. Then 8 months later when it hemorrhaged all of the soap out and totally stopped working, I was forlorn. I emailed Simple Human and they sent us a call tag, looked at the broken dispenser, and replaced it with a newer model. All in all, we were without it for over a month, and it was disastrous. When the new soap dispenser arrived, it was as though the clouds parted in the skies, the sun shone brighter, and angels began singing. I was thrilled. Downside- it always looks dirty due to the stainless and chrome color scheme. Seriously, why couldn’t they have gone with a simple matte white? Oh, and the motion of wiping that chrome surface triggers the sensor and squirts more soap out. The upside is they have great customer service. [update] The pictured pump finally died around 10/2014. When I went to buy a replacement (immediately) I found that not only had they “fixed” the design issue with the chrome plate, they had come out with a white version, and cut the price in half, I assume because there are numerous other automatic soap dispensers on the market and they had to stay competitive. Despite the new unit being half the price, the quality appears to be very similar, and I am even happier with the newer model than the older one due to them changing the color and making the new unit a little smaller.[/edit]
|I cleaned this off like 2 days ago.|
OK, so my basic rundown after 2+ years of use of my kitchen sink area –
Blanco Silgranit single-bowl sink – BUY BUY BUY
Moen Faucet – Eh, whatever
Drain – don’t bother
Simple Human soap dispenser – good stuff, though it may fail and you will be without one while SH replaces or repairs it.
This was a pretty good idea if I may say so myself. I’m going to spare you the rundown on my technique, as if you’re likely to try this dish, you either have already obsessively read about how to make a proper risotto, or you’re not likely to listen to my input. If you’re not likely to try this dish, then you probably don’t give a shit about how much stock I used and how fine a dice to use on the onion. I just used the juice and zest of a whole (albeit fairly old and shrively) lemon and added it in with the white wine. The asparagus I just cut up into sections and sauteed with a little bit of butter and topped the risotto with it (I’m glad I did, Craig decided that he preferred it without, and I decided that I preferred it with way more than “some”) then I topped it with a fried egg. Overall, one of my favorite dishes. Simple, easy, tasty, minimally messy.